Is there any evidence for this reading of the first few verses of John or has it been concocted just to keep Carotta's ideas from being falsified ? If there were evidence I could beleive it but I cannot think it likely without support.
Crassus appears to be an even better match for John the Baptist - like Pompey he was a sponsor of Caesar. However like John - as he appears in the Bible anyway - he was taken off the scene before the main act, and his head was taken and presented before a royal court - that of Hyrodes of Parthia - and I suppose by Carotta's standard Herod is even a plausible corruption of Hyrodes. But this illustrates a point - parallels of this sort are too easy to generate to find them plausible.
And if you can understand Carotta's footnote relating to Jospehus' mention of John the Baptist then I would like an explanation:
In respect to the persons mentioned, only two and a half of them are historically documented: Pilate, Herodes and maybe John the Baptist 
 John and Jacobus only have a historical background if they are identical with the persons of the same names in Acts—which is purely hypothetical—and they also have to be the same persons who show up in Flavius Josephus. But then the father Zebedee is missing
John the Baptist is mentioned by Josephus, yes. But what is the footnote trying to say ?
I'm not really sure about note 277, PaulK! :( I'll have to ask the author about it. I think Jacobus is some German equivalent to James(?) It's almost as if this note doesn't fit at all, like there has been a mistake, like it is a remnant of something in the text that was later edited out, but the note was not adjusted...? Anyway, it isn't clear to me, so let me see if Carotta can provide me with an answer...
quote: Is there any evidence for this reading of the first few verses of John or has it been concocted just to keep Carotta's ideas from being falsified ? If there were evidence I could beleive it but I cannot think it likely without support.
I'm not sure if this possibility (that the gospels might be sourced from staged plays) has been examined in a serious way. I wonder how one would go about finding 'evidence' to prove such a process really took place? My guess is such a process would result in an almost indefinable 'quirkiness' to the text, for one thing.
About your idea that Crassus is a better fit to correspond with John the Baptist than Pompey, that is really amazing! Perhaps the character of John the Baptist is a melding of not only Pompeian snippets, but also some of Crassus, too. :)
I think one of this theory's big stumbling blocks is that it lacks a strict 'method'; as in a set of 'rules' like a set-in-stone mathematical formula: "John the baptist is ALWAYS mirroring Pompey, and Pompey only", or "Jesus Christ is a mirror of Julius Caesar, and of him only"... It might not be possible for the theory as it is to provide that, because it is based upon the idea that something in the process which (mis)translated the text was too chaotic. (keep in mind, I am NOT an expert on the book. I did read it more than once, but I have since been reading and researching other things so I have forgotten a lot of the details in Carotta's book.)
But anyway, Carotta has always, in my understanding, realized that he has not come close to explaining all the details; his primary feeling is rather that he has begun the discovery of something.
So perhaps there can be a more formal way of defining the different factors in the process, but it will take a lot more research and thought (and arguing!) by a lot of people in order to discover it...?
This message has been edited by Aquitaine, May-06-2005 10:43 AM
Well, if for instance one could produce direct evidence of a stage play of the life of Caesar that include those lines or similar lines in a similar context, then we would have evidence of Carotta's thesis. But I have to be dubious of any work where the "context" of a line refers not to the text we have but to a hypothetical original -apparently reconstructed for the purpoise of providing support for the thesis under discussion. Not only is it misleading to neglect to state that the "context" refers to a hypothetical text and not the one where the line is actually found, the argument itself involves an element of circularity that renders it of no real value.
My feeling on Carotta's work is that:
1) Some of the more convincing - or less unconvincing - coincidences are genuine coincidences. The place names and gens names he uses are examples because they are things which are not under the writer's control.
2) Carotta is sloppy and his supposed parallels can turn out to be weaker on closer examination (e.g. Jesus going INTO Galilee instead of OUT of Galilee as Carotta has it).
3) The lack of "rules" makes it easier to produce ad hoc "fits". Which leaves evne more room for coincidence.
The reason I asked about the note is that it seems to confuse John the Baptist and James*, the brother of Jesus with John and James the sons of Zebedee. The former are mentioned in Josephus, but to the best of my knowledge the latter are not. Both Johns and both James are mentioned in Acts (although John the Baptist - unsurprisingly - does not appear).
*Jacobus is a form of James (hence the followers of the Stuart King James and his heirs are called Jacobites).